Please enjoy this excerpt —
A conversation between Beatrice and Cecilia's father and the Countess Haven, the girls’ godmother and hostess of the house party
. . .
"Why in the world is Lord Jess Pennistan on the guest
list?" Abel Brent set the list down. He remained standing, folded his arms and waited for the coutess's answer.
"Because it is impossible to say no to him." The dowager Countess of Haven folded her arms, imitating him, ready for an argument, but when Abel looked shocked the countess laughed instead.
"Not in that way. At least not for me. I am almost old enough to be his mother." An outright lie. Her own son was two years older. "Jess is a charming rogue who I've known since he was in swaddling clothes."
"His reputation, Jasmine. He was involved in a divorce."
"Yes, he was and Jess is so charming that the man who brought the suit still sees him socially and will in fact be a guest at the house party as well."
"I donít know." His hesitation was all she needed.
"But I do, Abel, and I would never do anything that would endanger Beatrice and Cecilia. I think having Lord Jess to flirt with will be excellent practice for the Season."
"So now you are assuming that Mrs. Wilson and Lord Belmont will agree with you and give their blessing and the daughters of a mill owner, my daughters, will be invited to ton gatherings?" Brent shook his head, looking even more uncertain.
"I'm not completely positive, Mr. Brent, but what is there not to love about your girls? Cecilia is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen and Beatrice so fascinated by everyone and everything that the two are bound to be welcome."
"We are prejudiced, Jasmine. Their father and their godmother can hardly be expected to harbor any objectivity."
"You do know that I have enough cache, even as a dowager, to present them myself? This house party is a chance for others to see how well brought up they are, as well as opportunity for the girls to grow more comfortable with ton ways."
"Hmmph." Which was what Abel said when he agreed, but did not want to say so out loud.
"Which brings me back to Lord Jess." She had best clear that up now. "There will be rogues aplenty, dangling after them and a small flirtation with someone like Jess will teach them how to handle it."
"But what if he seduces one of them?"
"Have some faith in your daughters," Jasmine could not quite control the edge in her voice. "Besides, I have warned Jess to be on his best behavior."
"His brother, the duke, must be disgusted with him."
"I have no idea," Jasmine lied again. "His sister and her husband will be coming. Perhaps you can ask them."
Brent laughed as the countess intended.
"I wonder how Jane Wilson will handle his presence?" the countess mused. "I did warn him that it is entirely possible she will not allow him near her virginal daughter, but no one knows better than I do that Jess's charm is hard to refuse."
"Now you see that is what makes me nervous. My girls have no experience of men like that."
"Well, they will after this next fortnight won't they?"
. . .
Want more? Read the first chapter of ONE MORE KISS.